And now back to our regularly scheduled program…
I’m going to switch things up for this column from my previous previews. Instead of assigning a ranking to the marketing of new releases, I’m going to look at what I believe are the good, bad and ugly of this latest batch of films. First up for the new treatment is a remake of a late 20th century camp classic.
A factory worker, Douglas Quaid, begins to suspect that he is a spy after visiting Rekall - a company that provides its clients with implanted fake memories of a life they would like to have led - goes wrong and he finds himself on the run. *
The Good – Colin Farrell is an immediate improvement over the former governor of California in terms of acting. Despite my love of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance, he cannot convey the everyman that I feel the role ultimately calls for. Arnold works well in the awesomely campy original; however someone of his “caliber” will not be the right fit in this adaptation. A spy (potentially) should not stand out from the crowd and that is something Arnold cannot do. Colin will ultimately be more believable as a sleeper agent in this movie.
The Bad – If Colin Farrell is a step in the right direction, then director Len Wiseman is a step back. Best known for his work with the Underworld series and Live Free and Die Hard, Len has a knack for not delivering on potential. The Underworld franchise concerns vampires and werewolves (or Lycans as they are referred in the films) battling each other in a Matrix inspired fantasy world. The concept alone should be high in at least camp value; instead it ends up mostly a lethargic retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Live Free or Die Hard took a brutal and (relatively) realistic R-rated series and moved it into such a preposterous, over-the-top position that it is considered the black sheep of the franchise. Live Free or Die Hard is the film that Die Hard fans pretend doesn’t exist (the PG-13 rating didn’t help matters.) Total Recall may have a different approach then the Paul Verhoeven’s original; however there is no doubt that this remake will not be as much fun as the previous iteration due to Len’s involvement.
The Ugly – They turned a bloody R-rated film into a tamer PG-13 version. Also, there is the rumor that the film doesn’t involve getting one’s ass to Mars. At least we can be happy that Mary returns in some form.
Total Recall is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS
School is out and Greg is ready for the days of summer, when all his plans go wrong. What on earth is he going to do all summer? *
The Good – This film is the third in the movie series based on a series of successful books. While the films have not had a stellar critical rating, they are profitable, usually making about three times its budget. They are inexpensive to make and seem to have a small charm to them. If your kids like these films, I don’t see why this one would be different.
The Bad – I’ve not seen any of the series and don’t plan to check this one out as well. These films are not my cup of tea.
The Ugly – These films feature fellow Kentucky resident Steve Zahn and while his involvement doesn’t initially involve anything ugly, I can’t forget that he was also in (shudder) Saving Silverman. That film was just horrible.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is rated PG for some rude humor.
That will do for this week. Stay tuned next time when we question the legitimacy of the Treadstone project. Until then, see you at the party, Richter.
*all summaries taken from IMDB.com